Monday, March 30, 2015

Simple Spring Lawn Care Tips

After this year’s chilly winter temperatures and dormant growth, spring lawns need some extra care. If you take care of your lawn the right way during spring, you will be rewarded with a beautiful, healthy summer lawn.

Whether you want to spruce up your new home or add curb appeal in order to sell your home, now is the time to give your lawn some well-deserved TLC! Here are some simple lawn care tips will convert your lawn into something you will be proud of and add value to your home:

Mow your lawn

The most important thing you need to do focus on to make your lawn look fantastic is regular and correct mowing. Cut the grass whenever it grows, which will likely be a weekly task or even more frequent as the weather keeps warming up in spring. Try to keep grass at the same height throughout spring. 2.3-4 cm high would be ideal for most lawns, but if your lawn takes lots of wear and tear, then you can raise the height to 5cm. If the area is extremely shaded then 7.5 cm would be the right height. Be careful while mowing, because if you mow too short you will weaken the grass and increase chances of moss and weed development.

Feed your lawn

The next important thing you need to do during spring is to feed the grass. If you feed your lawn with a good fertilizer, it obviously will make your grass green, but more importantly, it will help your grass grow thicker. Fertilizing your lawn also increases its health and strength, and makes it better prepared to compete with moss, weeds, and any stress from weather conditions. During spring you should opt for a granular feed that will offer your lawn with regular amount of nutrients through several weeks. Make sure you apply your granular lawn feed evenly over the entire lawn, and the best way to do so will be to use a lawn spreader.

 Aerate your lawn

With time, your lawn’s soil becomes compacted, and this reduces the air pockets that allow water and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. If you want to tackle this problem, you must aerate your lawn annually. Spring is the best time for lawn aeration and once the process is complete, your lawn will again get its proper share of water and nutrients. Before long, your lawn will spring back to life and stay healthy all the year round.

Treat weeds

Lawn weeds are little culprits that can prevent you from enjoying a healthy full-grown lawn. Early spring is the best time to apply herbicide, as it prevents weeds from developing. It is a lot easier to get rid of weeds even before they develop than to deal with them once they have completely matured. So make sure you apply a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring and it will offer you great results.

Over-seed to cover bald patches

As the lawn ages, the reproduction rate also slows down. Nobody likes bald patches in their lawns! Apart from looking bad, these areas also increase chances of weed and moss development. As soon as the last snow disappears, spread grass seeds all over your lawn at the recommended rate. New grass will start developing soon filling in those bare areas. This will help to make your lawn look healthy and beautiful once again. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Buying a Short Sale Home

When buying a home, you may notice that some properties are listed as short sales. When a listing is labeled as a short sale, it means that the seller’s lender is willing to accept a discounted payoff in order to release the existing mortgage on the property. 

In such a transaction, the lender agrees to accept an amount that is less than what is owed on the mortgage. The sale benefits the lender because it allows the lender to avoid repossessing the property in foreclosure as this is not only expensive, but also time-consuming. The seller also benefits from the sale as it allows them to avoid creating a poor credit record that may come with a foreclosure.

When buying a short sale home, there are several important things a homebuyer needs to know:

How short sales work

The lender does not own the home in a short sale. However, it will seem as if the buyer is buying the property from the bank because the bank will approve the sale. Although buying a short sale home is similar to a traditional purchase, there are some few differences in how the purchase agreement between the buyer and the agent is drafted. While the only party who needs to approve the sale in a normal transaction is the seller, a short sale contract has to specify that the terms are subject to the lender’s approval. Additionally, the contract has to state that the home is being purchased “as-is”. 

The buyer is also allowed to include language in the agreement that allows him/her to back out of the deal if an inspection of the property reveals considerable problems. However, the general rule is that the buyer should not expect the lender to reduce the price in order to account for any repairs. It is also unlikely that the bank will make any repairs, and the seller is even less likely to assist because they are often short on cash. The buyer needs to make that they have enough money for the closing costs.

The waiting game

If you’re buying a short sale property, be prepared to play the waiting game. Banks/lenders are notorious for taking a long time—up to several months in some cases—to respond to an offer on a short sale. In order to limit the wait time, experts recommend that a buyer should give the lender a deadline. Although it’s not clear if the strategy will push the bank to act fast, it is worth trying for those who can’t stand the stress of waiting for months to get a response. Nevertheless, if the bank has not approved the short sale at the time the buyer is making the offer, it will be useless to implement a deadline because it may take a couple of months just for the lender and the seller to reach to an agreement. 

Weighing the benefits

Experts can’t agree on whether a short sale is a good deal for the buyer. Some believe that short sales are often priced below the market value, which creates an opportunity for the buyer to get a good deal or for a first-time home buyer to own a home when they otherwise might not be in a position to afford one. Others say that lenders don’t have an interest in selling property below market value and will conduct a comparable analysis before accepting a price for short sales.